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Written by JulieW
(11/30/2006 9:01 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Mangle, penned by Robbin
The picture shows an 18th century laundry.
This was the room in a well-to-do house where the washing would be ironed and mangled, as opposed to the "wash-house", which is where the clothes were actually washed and boiled in a "copper".
The long box-like table to the right of the picture is an 18th century box mangle.
The one you described, Robbin was a later, 19th century invention, and is the one I am familar with in my childhood, when my grandmother's washer woman would come on Mondays to " do" the laundry! The 19th century "roller" mangle would "wring" out the water , and then the items of linen would have to be dried and ironed.
This was box-mangle was used to press excess water out of the items which were wet from being washed, but at the same time it ironed them(I want one!!!!).
Sheets and tablecloths and all other pieces of flat linen were usually put inside the mangle to have the water squeezed out. So, bascially it "ironed" and did not " wring" the linen, two very different processes.
Do let me explain how it worked .
The invention combined two very ancient processes. First the application of screw pressure, such as that used in a cider press, and secondly by adopting the ancient smoothing technique of winding clothes around wooden cylinders, wrapping them in clothes( called "brattices" )and then rolling them to and fro applying considerable pressure from above with broad cricket bat sized instruments(called " batlets").
The box mangel was bascially, as you can see, a table which extended to suuport an oblong wooden box, which was weighted with large stones and mounted on runners. Clothes/linen were wound on the rolllers, which were then placed between the box and the table. The heavy box was then propelled( by use of a chain mechanism) over the rollers. Et Voila!-nearly dry and orned clothes.
I'm sure any of us realsie how lucky we are to be able to have tumble dryres these days. Thats why I'm sure Mary ( and her hosuehold)was so very greatedul to Edward for his very pracial and thoughtful gift.
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